The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan discussed Indonesia-China strategic partnerships during his attendance in the Belt and Road Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing on Thursday, asserting Indonesia’s neutrality amidst increasingly tense trade war issues between China and the United States.
“Indonesia is too big to be forced to take sides with one of the two camps, even among the world’s superpowers,” said Luhut, who attended the forum as a special representative of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Speaking in front of 700 people representing Chinese government branches and international investors, Luhut said Indonesia would take a role as a credible intermediary between Washington and Beijing.
“Amid a shifting balance of power in Asia, Indonesia will get advantages of being able to play a role as an honest broker in China-US relations.”
“We can become a mediator should they face conflict. Our country is too big to be ignored, both in terms of economy, area and population. Indonesia is now a trillion-dollar country and will keep developing.”
Trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies has recently intensified after US President Donald Trump signed orders for stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum and indicated more actions were potentially on the way. The US administration asked China for a plan to cut the annual US trade deficit with the nation by $100 billion, as reported by Bloomberg.
China Foreign Minister Wang Yi appreciated and respected Indonesia’s stance over the issue. “Indonesia is a very influential country in the region and the world. The country also represents the group of new economy.” (ebf)
Closer ties: Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (second left) talks with China Prime Minister Li Keqiang (second right) on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing, China, on April 12. (Courtesy of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry/File)